- Slides: 32
Nietzsche Philosophy Through the Centuries BRENT SILBY Unlimited (UPT)
Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) “God is Dead” – Nietzsche (1882)
Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) Most famous for writings on Existentialism and Postmodernism
Existentialism? What is Existentialism? Suggestion that Philosophical thought should deal with existence of the individual person The alternative style of Philosophy focuses on objective truths of Mathematics and Science But Existentialists think these don’t get to the heart of human experience. Existentialists focus on subjective experience of the individual They focus on the individual’s emotions, actions, and thoughts
Postmodern Philosophy What is Postmodern Philosophy? Critical of the traditional structure and foundation of Philosophy Postmodernists are skeptical and nihilistic towards many assumptions Philosophers make, for example: “That one form of government can be shown to be better than another” Postmodern Philosophers believe there is no absolute truth
Nietzsche was a postmodern existentialist philosopher Reading his work, you will not find standard arguments that have a logical form. He contradicts himself all through his work - Though, this contradiction could be appropriate to the type of work he is doing.
Nietzsche He seems to tell us that there is no absolute truth - Truth is subjective This is to say that truth depends on your point of view Problem: How can it be true that there is no truth? - This problem is a reflexive paradox
Nietzsche Perhaps he was saying that there is no rationally discoverable structure to the world. But if so, is it rational to believe this statement? Problem with subjectivism is that it all comes down to personal point of view. Its all interpretation. But an interpretation can’t really be true, its just a way to represent something – to understand
Nietzsche Sometimes we hear people saying things like: “Its true for me that God exists” But we don’t want to live in a world where truth just becomes a matter of opinion. Imagine saying “Its not true for me that Jupiter exists” Doesn’t make sense !
Nietzsche Where’s all this come from? Nietzsche thinks it comes from the death of God and the resulting nihilism
Nietzsche and the Death of God Where has God gone? … I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying … through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods too decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves?
Nietzsche So what was that all about? Nietzsche is worried that God is dead in our modern world view. He thinks rationalism and science killed him. It’s as if we have learned so much about the world that we don’t need God anymore. Nietzsche thought that the idea of God provided a moral, which gave us an approach to living life.
Nietzsche He worries that if we remove God from our world, we also lose morality and purpose to life. This leads to a nihilistic situation - our lives are not constrained by morality or guided by a faith based sense of purpose
Nihilism is the view that life has no objective meaning - There is no purpose to life - There is no comprehensible truth - Nothing has any real value With no God there is no objective moral standard and no real meaning to life - Life is meaningless - Everything is permitted
Nihilism is the view that our existence is insignificant and has no meaning. We pass through the universe in a blink of an eye for no real reason. It just happens.
Eternal Recurrence Nietzsche argued that the universe will continue to recur an infinite number of times. This means we live our lives over and over again forever Why? If space and matter are finite, but time is infinite, then everything that can possibly happen will happen, again and again.
Eternal Recurrence Given what we know about physics, is eternal recurrence a possibility? First law of thermodynamics: Heat and work are forms of energy transfer. Total energy in a closed system remains constant Second law of thermodynamics A closed system evolves towards maximum entropy (i. e. uniform temperature). A system in equilibrium (maximum entropy) has no energy available to do work. [draw bucket of cold water with hot stone – steam drive engine for work, but stone and water reach equilibrium, no energy left for work in this closed system]
Nihilism History and future of Universe - Big Bang – 13 billion years ago (13 x 109) - Age of the stars and planets - Degenerate Age – 1014 to 1040 years in future Galaxy formation ceases. Planets and stars orbits decay By end of epoch, all protons decayed - Black Hole Age – 1040 to 10100 years in future Most black holes disintegrate by end of this epoch - Dark Age – 10100 to 10150 years in future Remaining black holes disintegrate - Photon Age – 10150 to ? ? ? in future Universe reaches a low energy state, i. e. maximum entropy Increasing entropy
Nihilism Easy to slip into a nihilistic world view when see how insignificant we are!
Nietzsche is sounding a warning. He is warning us against slipping into nihilism. So, what does Nietzsche propose to get over this?
Ubermensch Nietzsche proposes a new set of values - values that do not rely on God He suggests that we humans can transcend our current state and become “Ubermensche” - Uberman - some have translated to “Superman” - some have translated to “overman” - most likely meaning is “beyond man”
Ubermensch Christians look to other worlds, non earthly existence for hope and value Nietzsche suggests that Ubermensch is the meaning of earth Ubermensche is the creator of new values Here, Nietzsche has overcome the problem of God’s death and nihilism How? The Ubermensche creates new values which fill the void of nihilsm.
Ubermensch We don’t need God! We can create our own set of values and purpose!
Ubermensch Humanity’s first goal is the movement towards becoming ubermensch Nietzsche seems to be saying that we should build a new society of ubermensch (or supermen) to take the place of the old style human
Ubermensch Does he mean that we should embark on a program of eugenics? - selective breeding of humans such as in Nazi Germany Jury may be out on that, but I don’t think this is what he meant He was probably referring to cultural rather than genetic traits - with a change in culture we could encourage humans to become ubermensch and transcend humanity’s earlier religious or valueless existence
Ubermensch Despite this, Nietzsche was considered the official Philosopher of the “Third Reich” - This was long after his death. - His works were misinterpreted by the Nazi’s as in support of their ideals
Ubermensch Why? After his death, Nietzsche’s sister re-edited his writings to support the Aryan ideal of racial purity and superiority
Ubermensch Hitler in Nietzsche museum, viewing bust of Nietzsche
Ubermensch Nietzsche died in 1900 after ten years of insanity. He was in a vegetative state for most of that time. His sister cared for him, and allowed tourists to come in to view the great Philosopher That’s how it ended for Nietzsche
“God is Dead” – Nietzsche (1882) “Nietzsche is Dead” – God (1900)
Powerpoint by BRENT SILBY Produced at Unlimited (UPT) Christchurch, New Zealand www. unlimited. school. nz